Effusions: The 3 most important components
These three components are most important in evaluating and classifying cavitary effusions.
Total protein: The total protein of the effusion is part of how we classify effusions as transudates, modified transudates, or exudates. This can easily be measured in-house using your refractometer.
Cellularity: The quantification of cells in the fluid (cells/uL) is part of how we classify fluids as transudates, modified transudates, or exudates.
Cytology: What cells are present in the fluid? Are they inflammatory? Neoplastic? Are there other clues as to what’s causing the effusion like bile or bacteria?
We’re able to classify an effusion most effectively and confidently when we have all three of these components!